Seven Days. How Do You Say Thanks?

19 Nov

How do you say “thank you?”  As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us have begun the cravings: turkey, stuffing, veggies, pies, and more await us in just one week.  But have you thought what you will be thankful for, when you raise that glass of Riesling for the toast?  That mug of Hennepin?  I have.  This year has been a stressful one, and without certain people and hobbies, I probably would have lost my mind.  I will be cooking my Thanksgiving dinner in honor of the people and things that made my year spectacular at first, and then bearable in the end.

Since last Thanksgiving, I have had a crazy year.  I loved my first year at college, and I finished it alive and well (wink/nod,–we are giving thanks, right?).  Last summer, thanks to some connections from my Dad’s friend, Andre Tamers, who imports wine from Spain, I got the opportunity to cook in some restaurants in Galicia.  When the summer ended, I got a great start to my sophomore year at school, thanks to my friends and suite-mates.

Also, someone I know started brewing craft beer, so I got to learn a lot about the theory of that over the past few months.  I am thankful for such opportunities.  On another note, I did have a stress-filled and shitty semester, and my parents and siblings were very helpful at convincing me that the shit in life is all worth it.

Heavy stuff aside, there is food that goes with these thank-you’s!  This year, my table will be a zoo of twenty-plus people.  That means lots and lots of delicious, home-cooked food.  Our current plan involves two roasted turkeys–one malt-brined and one smeared with copious amounts of duck fat.  We also have the goods for a turducken.  Let’s just say there are many birds to bone, and few cooks who swing that way.

this turducken i made a couple years ago was fun to make!

As for side dishes, I’ll be making buckwheat rolls with bacon, maitake mushrooms, and chestnuts; sweet potato casserole (don’t deny its omnipotence); mashed potatoes with a million pounds of cream and butter; stuffing with shiitakes and currants; cranberry sauce; and…my existential Jell-o mold!  I just can’t resist making that jiggly tower of sketchiness.  Flavor TBD.

not sure if i can top this in terms of color, but i have a funny feeling ours will taste better...

Beverage pairings will not only include some wines from the Rioja region (a nice, rusitc flavor) and dry Rieslings (crisp and fruity), but a whole separate beer menu, devised by my dad and me:

Hennepin, by Ommegang Brewery; Prelim Fail Ale, by Under the Bed Brouwerij; Dogtoberfest, by Flying Dog Brewery; Pennant Ale 55 and Brooklyn Lager, by Brooklyn Brewery; Pumking Ale, by Southern Tier Brewing Company; and Gorges Smoked Porter, by Ithaca Brewing Co. will all grace our table.  I can’t wait.

a colorful and delicious selection of beers

If you think I forgot about dessert, get ready for my diabetes-inducing dessert menu: pumpkin ice cream profiteroles with maple glaze, pecan pie (one with bourbon and one without; my younger sister does not like spiked food), and apple pie with miso butterscotch ( ; ) thanks, Chef Tosi of Momofuku).

So yeah. Thanks, everyone, and I can’t wait for you all to enjoy this food!  Details to follow!

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